When it was built in the early 1980s, the 2.5 kilometre concrete Filsinger channel served its purpose – to move water quickly away from urban landscapes. Unfortunately the channel also conveyed sediment efficiently, looked industrial, and destroyed any natural components of the stream.
Downstream from Filsinger is Victoria Park Lake, the city’s crown jewel. Concrete channels like those in Filsinger were filling the lake with sediment and it had to be dredged constantly. So, we recommended naturalizing the channel to reduce sediment buildup with the added benefit of returning the stream to its natural state.
Now the channel is wider with bends and meanders. It has pools and water flows so it looks and sounds like a stream again. Improved habitat has brought back trees, plants, birds, and fish. Naturalization will significantly increase plant density and stability of the channel. The roots hold the bank together, provide food and nutrients for the fish, and are habitat for birds and terrestrial animals. All of that creates and environment people want to visit, too. A major trail network and pedestrian bridges integrated into the new channel are getting people back out into the park.